October 6, 1990


Image of the Ulysses launch


The Ulysses spacecraft launches on a mission to study the Sun. It is the first spacecraft to orbit the Sun around its poles.

Earth and most of the other planets orbit the Sun on or close to the ecliptic, an imaginary plane like a flat tabletop. Although a number of spacecraft have examined the Sun from this perspective, they have not studied the environment around the Sun's north and south poles. Exploring these regions is the aim of Ulysses, a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency.

As of 2002, Ulysses is still operating and returning data.

See also: Ulysses home page

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